Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are holding a town hall next Saturday (March 4) at 9:15 in the Clark Auditorium (Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, Northwest Plaza, on the corner of 500 W. and Bulldog Blvd. in Provo). We will have a continental breakfast. Please come and discuss the issues.
With Week 5 of the 2017 Legislative Session over, we are now more than two-thirds of the way done! We have passed a total of 163 bills and they just keep on coming. You can keep track of these bills with the bill tracker tool found here.
This week we were also honored to hear reports from Senator Orrin Hatch and Congresswoman Mia Love. You can watch Senator Hatch’s report here: [http://utahlegislature.
You can click on any of the linked bills in this letter to take you to the bill homepage. The most recent version of the bill will be displayed. You can also click to find the status of the bill, vote counts, and all the audio/video of floor and committee debates! Thank you for your interest in our legislative process.
Cyber Exploitation Amendements
SB232 was heard on the Senate floor on Friday and passed the 2nd reading calendar with a unanimous vote. This legislation deals with sexploitation which is commonly used as a form of control over victims of sexual violence. Keep an eye on this bill as it gets voted on again in the Senate and then will move to the House.
Online Sales Tax
In Utah, our legislative fiscal analysts have estimated that around $220 million of owed sales tax goes unpaid because of online purchases. While Utahn’s are currently required to pay sales tax for their online purchases, fewer than 2% actually pay their owed tax. That is $220 million that we could be spending on education, infrastructure, and social services.
Because online retailers are not required to collect the owed sales tax, this also creates an unfair advantage to online retailers, and makes it difficult for our local, brick-and-mortar businesses to thrive. 1SB 110 would balance the playing field and help collect the owed tax. This bill would require retailers who earn over $100,000 of sales in Utah to begin collecting sales tax. For an affiliate, the threshold is $10,000 of sales in Utah before they are required to collect sales tax. This bill passed out of the Senate this week and will now be considered by the House.
Other Week 5 Issues
Each year for the last couple of years, we have seen bills about unmanned aircrafts, otherwise known as drones. Because drones are a newer technology, states across the country are still working on how to best regulate them. 1SB 111Unmanned Aircraft Amendments, would clarify a unifying drone code for Utah that would include federal standards for safe flying practices. It also addresses concerns about privacy and voyeurism by defining them in code and declares it unlawful to attach a weapon to a drone. This bill passed out of the Senate unanimously, and is now being considered by the House.
We all love our pets. We want them to live happy lives, and have peaceful deaths. SB 56 Animal Shelter Amendments, would create a less stressful manner of euthanasia for animals. This bill does away with the gas chambers that have previously been used, and instead requires euthanasia be done by injection, which is quicker, less traumatic, and less costly.
New bill would allow Department of Licensing to cite unprofessional conduct
Senator Ipson presented SB184 on the floor this week. This bill allows the Department of Professional Licensing to create rules governing the professional and unprofessional conduct of Professional Structural Engineers. This bill passed unanimously through the Senate and will now be heard in the House.
Senate gives green light to Cannabinol Research Bill
One of the major concerns with Medical Marijuana is the lack of consistent research regarding the benefits and side effects of different cannabinol-based products. HB130 is a bill that paves the way for further research by allowing the possession of cannabinol as part of Department of Health Institutional Review Board approved research project. This bill passed the House and the Senate.
The Fix-it Ticket Bill
Senator Jake Anderegg describes SB 90 Vehicle Inspection and Registration Amendments as a simple Fix-it Ticket bill. It provides for a two-week window for anyone receiving a citation related to safety or emissions issues for their vehicle. In other words, if a person is pulled over by law enforcement and issued a citation for a broken tail light, if the broken tail light is fixed within two weeks, the fee for that violation will be waived. Senator Anderegg said that this ensures that the focus of citations is safety and not revenue. This bill has passed in both the House and Senate and has returned to the Senate for enrolling.
Resolution for an Article V Convention fails in the Senate
Those who have followed the Article V Convention debate over the years know that this is a contentious issue. House Joint Resolution 3 Calling for a Convention to Amend the Constitution of the United States sponsored by Representative Merrill Nelson passed in the House with 29 representatives from both parties voting against it.
In the Senate, those opposed to the resolution talked about the possibility of unintended consequences. Senator Gene Davis talked about the risk of destroying the separation of powers now outlined in the U.S. Constitution. Those that support the concept argue that most fears are overblown because of the requirements for ratification. Senator Thatcher pointed out that there is little chance that three-fourths of the states would vote to do away with any of the Bill of Rights. The Joint Resolution failed in the Senate with a vote of 12-16-1.
It is an honor to serve. Please follow me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/curtbrambleutah. You can e-mail me at anytime with issues and concerns you might have.